Journal writing 101

Most of us wrote a diary when we were young and most of us also stopped writing when we were no longer just that – young. The reason for stop writing can be all from different priorities but also that there still remain some thought about diaries being childish and not something for a grown person to tend to. Most people use the term “Journaling” instead of Diary-writing when they do this as grown ups and whatever it might be called. Writing ones feelings and thoughts is good for the soul in many ways. But, how do I start writing?

I decided to start writing a journal about two years ago and as always I set out to find the best tools and applications which i could use to do this. I tried a lot of applications but always got stuck on how to use some specific functionality or why something did not work as intended. Quite soon I did realize that I was focusing more on the tool then the content and due to this I started to write in Google Documents using my Gmail-account. If this is good or bad is a completely different story but my main point here is that I choose a very simple tool with high availability to be able to write from all locations where I had a computer. I also decided to write without any formatting at all so that the text could be exported very easy by just copy and pasting. This so that if I did find a good tool later on I would not be facing a problem of compatibility.

When the tool was chosen I set up a goal to write a new post in my journal on a weekly basis at first. I tried to set out not to have a set agenda on what to write but just try to write to get that old writing-block out of my system. At first it was quite hard to get started but after just a new posts I got a feeling that the writing part really was not as hard as I thought it would be. As soon as one start writing down feelings and thoughts it becomes more or less an addiction to get it out of the system. And very fast I did realize that by writing it down I had a all new way of handling my own thoughts, almost like I was my own shrink trying to get an understanding on what was going on in my own life. I totally understand that my experience in all this writing is very personal and there is no set out course that it would be the same for anyone else. But hey, perhaps it will.

So as a conclusion I will list some of the best tips I would liked to see before I started and which might be of some use for anyone else going down the same route as myself. As with all new areas the most important thing is to keep it personal and do what feels best for you, not what other has done before.

  1. Ignore tools and applications and start writing in just about anything. Notepad in Windows works as a charm as well as TextEdit on Mac. To increase the availability you can also use online word-processors as Google Documents or Soho.
  2. Do not setup an agenda for what to write on, just write. If you do not have anything in your mind you want to write about, write about you not being able to write. Ignore if you might have written the same things before. Just write.
  3. Never erase what you have written. Of course a spelling-error can be fixed while writing but after a post is written. Let it remain just as it is. By doing this you can revisit what you have written and see if you in any way change over time.
  4. Show your journal for other people, or keep it private. It is all up to you and you should do just as you feel. For me the knowledge of my writing being strictly private lets me write about things I never would have discussed with another human being. I write for myself and myself alone.
  5. Go back and read what you have read after some time and try to revisit old topics. Especially when you feel that you have a bit of writers-block in your head.
  6. Last but not least I need to stress one point once more. Just write.

The photo used on the front-page for this article was taken by Markus Rödder, you can find his Flickr-page here.

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